Should Numbers Really Matter In A Relationship?
By Amelia Jean Jones
Statistician and author of relationship tome Sex By Numbers, Sir David Spiegelhalter has figured out the digits that really matter when it comes to your relationship.
How many times a day men think about sex
The facts: “While every seven seconds has been widely accepted as statistical fact, the source is impossible to find and I don’t think it’s true,” says Spiegelhalter. “The facts are that there isn’t much difference between men and women – and that we all think about sandwiches more than orgasms.” Yes, thinking about sex 10 times a day and food 15 is the norm. Sounds about right. Mmm… cake.
The percentage of women who’ve had a same-sex experience in the past five years
The facts: “This is one of the biggest changes in women’s behaviour over the past 20 years,” says Spiegelhalter. “Men’s habits haven’t changed much.” Of women aged 16 to 44, 16 percent reported some sort of same-sex experience in 2010, compared with four percent in 1990, a Lancet study found. “In the media, there have been changes in the representation of women,” says lead author Prof Kaye Wellings. The Katy Perry “I kissed a girl and I liked it” phenomenon could be part of it, but genital contact (ie, not just kissing) has also risen.
The Percentage of marriages expected to end in divorce
The facts: Despite your grandmother’s proclamations that anyone under 70 “just isn’t prepared to work at marriage”, you’ve still got a better-than- average chance of a happily ever after. Just. Although there are no South African stats, in Britain, “the divorce rate has remained stable since 1985 and has actually dropped recently,” assures Spiegelhalter. “The number of marriages is going down because of cohabiting (living together without tying the knot), but the number of divorces is decreasing at the same rate. This means marriage is taken more seriously than it was 10 years ago and marriage survival rates are getting better.” (Read: partners sticking together until one dies. Cheery.)
The number of years after marriage most people divorce
The facts: Yes, it’s bona fide – it seems the seven-year itch stands up to scrutiny. “If you’re destined to divorce, you’ll likely do it by then, because after year seven, the divorce rate drops. Of those married 25 years, only one percent will fail, and after 35, it’s down to less than one percent,” says Spiegelhalter. Years three and four were the time when most couples first experienced problems. Feet feeling itchy? Schedule in a movie night. Couples who watch films about relationships together – and then discuss them afterwards – are half as likely to split up within three years as couples who don’t bond over cinema. It can be just as effective in protecting your marriage as actual couple’s counselling, according to a study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Ster-Kinekor tickets for his birthday, then.
Percentage of people aged 16 to 44 who report having had an affair in the past year
The facts: Bad news. “If you break this figure down by gender, nine percent of women and 15 percent of men are unfaithful.” You might not be able to cheat-proof your relationship, but you can implement certain strategies. Oxytocin, also known as the love or cuddle hormone, actually makes partnered men put physical distance between themselves and attractive women, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Try texting him at lunch if he’s going on a big night out. Simply thinking about you can release oxytocin, even in the absence of physical contact, according to the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews. That’s why they call it a smartphone.
The times in minutes the average sex session lasts
The facts: Referring to actual penetrative sex time. Want to get your other half to the nine-minute mark? Get him to do Kegel exercises. It isn’t just you who has pubococcygeus (PC) muscles in your pelvic floor. Get him to practise cutting off his wee mid- flow and holding for a count of 10. Stronger PC muscles will help him exercise ejaculatory control when he approaches the point of inevitability. Because shouting “Not yet, not yet!” doesn’t help.